How to Write a Story

Here you'll find a step-by-step guide on how to write a story, including answers to these Frequently Asked Questions:

  • How can I write vivid descriptions?
  • How can I invent characters that feel like real people?
  • How can I create suspense?
  • How can I can I make readers care about my stories?
You will also find answers to some Infrequently Asked Questions::

  • What did one successful novelist do instead of murdering her ex-husband?
  • How is writing a novel too soon like getting married too young?
  • What's a really bad strategy for convincing people you're supercool?
  • Do you hear voices in your head? If not, what should you do about it?

How to Write a Story - Table of Contents

How to Get Started Writing a Story. So you have a story idea... and now you're facing a blank page. Here's a step-by-step guide for turning your ideas into stories.

Types of Fiction - Which One You Should Write. Do you want to be a short story writer, a novelist, a novella-ist? Is novella-ist even a word? Learn about the types of fiction and which one might be right for you.

What is Fiction, and an Easy Technique for Writing Better Stories. What is fiction, and how is it like dreaming? A discussion of where story ideas come, plus an incredibly simple way to improve your imagination and your writing.

How to Write Fiction that Feels Real - The Secrets of Showing Versus Telling. Find out how to write fiction that makes readers feel like they’re inside your stories. Learn essential techniques for developing scenes and creating an intense reader experience.

Fiction-Writing Tips - Create Characters that Feel Real. Tips for inventing characters and turning them into stories. Learn the number one secret to writing stories and novels that people will care about.

Questionnaires for Writing Character Profiles . Writing character profiles is an easy way to invent characters and to come up with story ideas. Use these helpful questionnaires to get started.

What is Plot - How to Build a Story from Beginning to End. What is plot? It’s what happens in a story, and the order it happens in. Learn the basics of story structure. How to create a narrative conflict and why your fiction will die if you don’t.

Constructing a Story Conflict. A student e-mailed us asking for help with using conflict in her stories. Here's the advice we gave her.

The Story Climax – How to Make Your Fiction More Exciting. Have you ever read a book you just couldn’t put down? Learn what a story climax is and how to write a story that will keep your readers on the edge of their seats.

How to Write Short Stories from Inside Your Character's Head. What's the best perspective for telling your story? All about narrative point of view, plus tips to help you avoid common creative writing mistakes.

How to Show Your Characters' Thoughts. Learn how to express your characters' thoughts and feelings, and use our Character Reaction Questionnaire to get to know your characters better.

boy writing - illustrating how to write a story
Photo credit: Radu Florin @ Unsplash

How to Make Your Characters More Interesting. Here are 5 techniques for adding interest to your characters and your stories.

How to Write a Villain. Create a story villain who will scare readers and linger in their memories.

How to Write Dialogue that Works. Find out how to write dialogue that your readers can actually hear in their minds. How to express each character’s unique voice and avoid boring blah-blah-blah.

More on Writing Dialogue. Essentials of writing dialogue tags and using dialogue in your fiction. Important dos and don’ts to avoid confusing or distracting your readers.

Direct Versus Indirect Dialogue. Find out how to use both kinds of dialogue, plus how to combine them for special effects.

Top 8 Tips on How to Write Dialogue. These quick tips sum up the key aspects of great dialogue writing.

How to Use Descriptive Beats. Descriptive beats are small pieces of action or description inserted into dialogue. Here are five ways to use them.

How Much Detail to Include In Your Story. If you're wondering how to write a description or a story with just the right level of detail, you'll find insights here.

Tips for Writing a Story - Control Your Reader's Imagination with Powerful Descriptions. How to write a story with the specific details that help your readers imagine scenes exactly the way you want them to.

An Easy Way to Build Suspense In Your Fiction. How to use setups and payoffs to weave suspense into any type of story and keep your reader turning pages.

How Long Should Your Story Be? What's too long? How can you make your stories longer? And what about novel length?

Tips for Writing a Story - Give Your Plot a Twist. Make your story more fun to read -- and to write -- by adding a surprise.

Mental Strategies for Fiction Writers There are times when writing can start to feel like a chore. Here are some mental strategies you can use to bring the fun back to your fiction writing.

Online Course - Essentials of Fiction Writing. Introductory course on how to write a story.

Online Course - Bringing Characters to Life. Learn how to create characters that feel three-dimensional and real.

Online Course - Mastering Dialogue. Learn how to write great dialogue and use it to improve character development, plotting, pacing, and more.

Online Course - Story Structure. Learn how to turn an idea into a successful story, from beginning to end.

Online Course - Through Your Character's Eyes. Learn narrative viewpoint techniques to pull readers deep inside your story.

Online Course - Irresistible Fiction. Learn techniques to make your fiction impossible to put down.

Writing Websites - Useful Resources Online. Here are some websites where you can learn more about specific genres and aspects of fiction writing.

woman writing - illustrating how to write a story
Photo credit: Eye for Ebony @ Unsplash

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